One of the most exciting things about running this website is the people that I encounter – travelers seeking advice, moms enjoying my guides, and friends of friends who have provided me with suggestions and inspiration. One of these new acquaintances is Yael Natori, who was introduced to me by a mutual friend, the talented stationery and home accessories designer, Nicki Rose. Yael is the author of the well-known lifestyle blog, Josie Girl, inspired by her mother-in-law, the renowned ready-to-wear, lingerie and home designer, Josie Natori. Lately I have been spending an extraordinary amount of time on this blog; I keep learning about so many cool things that I can’t look away. I now dream about Jar Bar NYC (a must for New Yorker’s and those visiting), I’m adding a dozen new things to my closet, including Natori’s Feathers T-Back Bra (my husband is going to be very happy), and I’ll be saving myself hours of Internet shopping thanks to Little Circus (where has this been my whole mom life?) Josie Girl is basically a wealth of knowledge for anyone who enjoys fashion, beauty, eating well and exercising. There’s even an NYC section for those of you anxiously awaiting my own New York guide.
But besides being a genius blogger, Yael is a traveler, and has been to Paris dozens of times. Not only did she spend every summer there while growing up, she is also lucky enough to have use of her in-law’s apartment, making her somewhat of a local in my eyes, and therefore the perfect person to interview for my Paris guide. Here is Yael Natori’s Paris.
1) Where do you love to dine?
My favorite food in Paris is the street food. Nothing beats an all-day stroll with an espresso at some random cafe in the morning, followed by a baguette with butter / ham / and cheese while strolling the streets. For dinners, I like trying fun restaurants – I have a mile long Paris restaurant list. I love a lot of the usuals: Caviar Kaspia, Avenue, Voltaire, L’Assiette…but I don’t love being surrounded by Americans. I go to Paris to be with the French and go where the French go, and there is nothing worse than sitting by someone you know from NYC at a “hip” place in Paris. I love finding places that are French, obscure, and under the radar. But if you are asking me for one restaurant, it would have to be Café Charlot in the marais — so french, delicious, and hip. I also like the pies at Le Loir Dans Le Théière.
2) Are there any under-the-radar museums or activities that travelers should know about?
My favorite activity in Paris (aside from shopping and walking) is touring Montmartre and Sacre Coeur. I spent my every summer there from the age of 8 on, and my host family’s apartment is in the 18th arrondissement, right near Sacre Coeur. So we would walk, look at the artists, admire the view, and people watch. So going back there, it is like playing a movie of my childhood and reliving those very special moments to me. It is also the most picturesque and romantic part of the entire city.
3) I love exploring the charming neighborhoods of Paris. Are there any particular streets or areas that you enjoy?
Montmartre, Latin Quartier, Marais, ANYWHERE and everywhere. Literally, we leave the apartment after a big breakfast, with a list of places I want to go to, and just walk miles upon miles. I love walking around the Marais (only place open on Sundays) and going to Le Marché des Enfants Rouges. I love window shopping, buying french food on any corner (I like to hoard food, especially french food), admire the life style of the Parisians, look at the kids and their clothing, and dream of living in Paris full time — what a life that would be!
4) Where do you shop when buying gifts or clothes for your children? What about for yourself?
Shopping, as one would expect, is great there. My favorite kid store is Bon Ton, my favorite store is Bon Marché which has every brand all under one roof — they even have a beautiful food market with incredibly beautiful delicacies and offerings. I also love Buly 1803 for skincare, Monoprix for kids clothes (believe it or not!) and presents. Nothing beats the french sense of style and quality !
5) When friends are planning a trip, which hotels do you recommend?
It depends on my friends’ budgets and where they like to spend the money — fancy, then Bristol. If not fancy, then airbnb is the way to go! I personally would like a cheap hotel room, and spend the money on french clothes and food. Luckily, we are super blessed to have my inlaws with an apartment there — FREE PLACE FOR US! So we can live like kings and queens and spend money somewhere else!
6) If you had one final day in Paris, what would you do?
Eat: baguette slathered with beurre and jambon, crepe with nutella and bananas; drink champagne/rose on the Seine; people watch, day dream, shop, wander around aimlessly at night with the golden sky — AHHHH THE LIFE! I spent my childhood going to every single museum, so in my adulthood, I have spent less time doing cultural activities, and more time as a wanderlust traveler….soon, I expect to get back into museums there, but in the meantime, I like people watching, reading books in the Jardin Luxembourg, running in Bois de Bologne, and just soaking in the french air and life!
Photo, above, courtesy of Ken Natori’s Google+ page. You can sign up to receive Josie Girl blog posts by clicking here.